Chem­i­cals to breed us dry

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - The Everest - WENDY TUOHY

CHEM­I­CALS found in foods, cos­met­ics, clean­ing prod­ucts and plas­tic con­tain­ers could be re­duc­ing our fer­til­ity.

New re­search from Dr Mark Green, a Melbourne Uni­ver­sity se­nior lec­turer in re­pro­duc­tive bi­ol­ogy, has re­viewed how com­mon chem­i­cals known as “en­docrine dis­rupt­ing chem­i­cals” af­fect fer­til­ity in women and men.

And he said con­sid­er­ing the con­tain­ers we use to store and heat food is al­most as im­por­tant as what you are eat. “You can get these chem­i­cal ex­po­sures from mul­ti­ple sources, in any­thing from food stuffs to the way you are heat­ing those in a mi­crowave or ovens,” Dr Green said.

The three main chem­i­cal cat­e­gories to avoid are parabens, com­mon preser­va­tives in cos­met­ics; ph­tha­lates, which make plas­tic flex­i­ble; and BPAs, another plas­tic in­gre­di­ent used in the lin­ings of food cans.

“House­hold sprays and chem­i­cals for clean­ing the bath­room, sham­poo and con­di­tioner all have parabens, and peo­ple may not know much of the ab­sorp­tion of chem­i­cals can come not from eat­ing or drink­ing but also from ex­po­sure through the skin of these or from cos­met­ics,” Dr Green said.

Com­monly han­dled items, such as printed cashier’s re­ceipts, often have a ther­mal coat­ing “ab­so­lutely cov­ered in” BPAs, he said, and plas­tic wa­ter bot­tles al­lowed to heat in cars be­fore cool­ing again and be­ing drunk can ex­pose peo­ple to “leached” BPAs.

Coun­sel­lor Emily Hunter and hus­band Michael Sier (pic­tured) are plan­ning to start a fam­ily and, hav­ing read Dr Green’s guide­lines, have made changes to their life­style.

“It was a wakeup call,” Ms Hunter said.

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